Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I once belonged to the Palm Beach Cinematic Society......

....I often find myself thinking back on the adventure which has been my life. Perched as I have so often been in my favorite old rocking chair (the one covered in zebra hide), I am reminded of how my dear Archer carried the fine chair through darkest Africa, determined to bring it home and find it a position of appropriate grandeur. It, like myself has seen the finest of days…and here we sit.....
I once belonged to the Palm Beach Cinematic Society, a collection of socialites and eccentrics dedicating their time to the sharing and enjoyment of “all things film”. What really happened was we gathered at each others homes monthly to discuss films we had recently viewed. Now, what really, really! happened was we introduced the film “assignment”, chatted about it for a few minutes, and proceeded to eat, drink, chat, gossip and share vast amounts of knowledge of other subjects, including (but certainly not limited to) foods, travel destinations and updates of children and other friends and acquaintances.

Palm Beach Fashions
 I just adored these get-togethers, and I adored the ladies who frequented them. Such a collection of eccentric and loyal friends….there was Lorelei, the artist….most widely known for her photographs of insects, and weddings…..and perhaps insect weddings. Then there was Nora, the teacher and lover of nature….this year her assignment to her students was for them to take home frog eggs and watch them hatch in their bathtubs! Can you imagine!...weeks and maybe months of bathing out of the sink and then the slimy creatures might hop right out and into your beds! 
Movies of the time
 Anyway, Nell was involved in organizing the local youth to do “good deeds” and spent her off time like Katharine Hepburn, gallivanting around jungles and climbing mountains…imagine! There was Kate, our own resident “Martha Stewart”; Tuppence, who was studying to be a Lawyer (imagine that!); Lula, who loved to adopt lost animals and find them new homes; and of course Miss LaFontaine, who always showed up wearing exotic Asian robes and such; and in the midst of all of our lavish, stone mansions, she lived in a woodsy and charming home made of logs! Can you imagine! She was such a rebel!
Secretly, Vivian was designing and assembling ornate and scandalous garments, and Rose was her fit model… and the two would gather on occasion, trying on the pieces late into the wee hours, and drinking way too much wine! Sally always hosted the Christmas bash because she had the most gorgeous tree, and put it up the earliest. I also happen to know that she secretly dreamed of becoming a “long haul” truck driver, and was quietly practicing on another friend’s large vehicle. Seems whenever the group got themselves into trouble, Sally was at the heart of it….and, Annabelle always managed to get us out….she could dig a mean snow trench, and I once saw her directing traffic in a pinch!
Cybil was the proper one of the group. She had come over from England and was always trying to improve our manners….she occasionally made us wear hats and raise our pinkies, but I know that she was really from Pittsburgh and secretly owned dungarees! We played along and loved her all the same. Daisy possessed daring wit, something we shared, and she always made me chuckle, especially when she told jokes in English, but delivered the punch lines in Spanish….imagine that!
Several of the ladies came and went, some joining for a while, when in town, and others who just retired from us or simply found their lives changing and moving on. There was Jane, who was off having babies; Joan, who had taken a position with the Postal Service, efforting to improve their logistics; and of course Violet, who decided she liked books better than film….last I heard she had joined a Book Club! Imagine that! 

These were the ladies of Palm Beach…the heart and soul of the community…and my friends….what would our town have been without them…..certainly a lot less interesting!.......astoria
For the top 50 movies of the 1940's see:
For more on Palm Beach in the 1930's-1950's check out :



Astoria might have worn one of these lavish "ladies lunching" jackets to one of the Society meetings.......jackets available at http://www.etsy.com/aahiggins




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